Restrict foreign investors; 30,000 sign petition
A petition calling for stricter rules on foreign ownership of property has reached 30,000 signatures. With Chinese interest in Australian real estate growing, concerns among consumers are escalating despite some industry figures playing down the impact on the market. Twenty thousand people have added their names to the petition at change.org in the last month and are calling for the Foreign Investment Review Board to have more robust tests and regulations for overseas buyers.

AV Jennings: Business conditions better now than a year ago
Home and land packages firm AV Jennings says that business conditions are better now than they were a year ago. The firm is optimistic for the coming years and is expecting to deal with more customers. However some areas are a concern. CEO Peter Summers has told The Australian that Adelaide may struggle from the decision of Holden to stop car production in the city from 2017. He believes that NSW and Sydney in particular will continue to thrive.

Auctions begin to slowdown as the year ends
The level of activity at Australia’s property auctions is slowing, as is usually the case at this time of year. CoreLogic RP Data says that the volume of properties available is falling; in Melbourne last week there were 1187 auctions as opposed to more than 1500 the week before and in Sydney there were 1036 compared to 1417 in the previous week. The clearance rate nationally is hovering around 60 per cent.

Home renovations boom driven by high prices
More Australians are choosing to upgrade their existing homes according to a report from Westpac. Renovations have hit a 4 year high as owners either choose to stay in their current dwelling and improve it, often by unlocking equity; or they are renovating to increase the market value before looking to sell.

Construction rate is driving state economies says HIA
ABS figures released on Friday show that residential construction became a key source of growth for several state economies during 2013/14 according to the Housing Industry Association. Construction of homes recovered in the last financial year in six out of eight states and where there were declines they were marginal. HIA economist Diwa Hawkins says: “The very low and stable interest rate settings characterising the current cycle are having the desired effect of realising much pent-up demand for new home building. The latest HIA Economics forecasts to be released on Monday suggest that residential construction will experience further growth in 2014/15 but policy makers need to understand that supply side constraints can only be held at bay by low interest rates for so long."

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